Senators Dismantle Maple Leafs in Battle of Ontario
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Saturday, March 16, 2019
Ottawa (6) Toronto (2) Final
Photo credit: @MapleLeafs
OTTAWA — Magnus Paajarvi scored two goals and led the Ottawa Senators to a decisive 6-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
The Maple Leafs suffered another baffling loss as their stretch of unflattering play continued. Ottawa’s dismantled roster, one that sits dead last in league standings, took down a top-five team with Stanley Cup aspirations.
Zack Smith contributed three assists on the night and was not on the ice for any goals against as Ottawa dominated the pace of play.
Cody Ceci broke the ice and gave the Senators a 1-0 lead at 6:36 of the opening period. His 6th goal of the season was his first since Dec. 28, snapping a 32 game goalless drought.
The Senators heavily outshot their opponent 17-10 in the first period and carried that momentum into the second.
Brian Gibbons extended Ottawa’s lead to two and scored his fifth goal of the season at 6:48. The Senators took the reigns and used that momentum to wear down their opponent moving forward.
Toronto responded with Morgan Rielly’s 20th goal of the season, becoming the third defenceman to do so in franchise history. He shares that honour with Al Iafrate (1975-76, 1976-77) and Ian Turnbull (1987-88, 1989-90).
An onslaught of sustained pressure led to two consecutive goals scored by the Senators. Both strikes came courtesy of Paajarvi, who recorded his eighth and ninth to increase Ottawa’s advantage to 4-1.
The Maple Leafs stormed back momentarily but were unable to persist. John Tavares did, however, convert on a crucial five-on-three power play to cut Ottawa’s lead to 4-2. His 40th tally of the season also marked his 700th career point milestone.
Ottawa forced the Maple Leafs to abandon all hope of a comeback with two unanswered goals to close out a decisive victory. Anthony Duclair notched his 14th and Oscar Lindberg added his eighth, respectively.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs are to make waves in the playoffs this year, they will have to right this ship before it crashes and burns. It won’t be an easy task with an inevitable series with the Boston Bruins on the horizon, with the possibility of home ice advantage slipping away.
@GordBrown_ on Twitter